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The Example of Volunteerism: Josephine Younan's Journey

Among the pursuit of scientific knowledge and the hustle of daily life, there exists an inspiration of selflessness and compassion named Josephine Younan. Born in Sweden, raised with Iraqi heritage, and now a proud resident of Australia for a decade, Josephine embodies the blend of cultures and the spirit of global citizenship. 

As a third-year Biomedicine student at Monash University, Josephine's days are filled with academic pursuits and extracurricular engagements. Yet, amongst the demands of her studies and her role as an optical dispenser, as a casual job, she found a calling that resonated with her soul - volunteering with St John Ambulance. 

Josephine's journey with St John began a year ago, sparked by a chance encounter at a community event. I went to an event just for fun, and I saw St John's members there and I was like, Oh my God, that's so cool. They must all be paramedics, but then when I went and asked them, it turns out that anyone can volunteer, and you just have to do some training, and anyone can contribute to that." 

Captivated by St John’s mission, she embarked on a path that would blend her passion for service with her diverse linguistic skills and cultural heritage. “I got a few different languages in my big cultural background which I'm very proud of, and that's part of the reason why I got into volunteering, just because I see how well that contributes to the community."  

Despite the rigorous training and demanding schedule, Josephine approached her initiation with a determination to excel, understanding that true impact requires dedication and patience. “I do have a lot of extracurricular commitments as well, like volunteering and some leadership roles. So, because of that I took a bit longer to do my initiation and finish all the certifications and do my shifts. I wanted to really take the time to do it properly, rather than just rush it. But it's been great throughout the whole process and some people like to do it a bit quicker, but I found that doing it a bit longer personally helped me to become more comfortable in my scope of training.” 

Her journey, marked by perseverance and a relentless search for excellence, concluded with her graduation as a First Responder this February. Since then, Josephine has embraced her new role, at the Monash Division, with firm commitment, attending to those in need with compassion and skill. With a qualification in Mental Health First Aid as well, Josephine brings an extra skill to her team and the patients she attends to. I've got mental health first aid training too, so I kind of channel that a little bit and realise you just have to sit there and listen. So, whatever training you've done in the past, you just got to realise you're talking to another person and ensure that they are going home safely, whether it’s a patient or a fellow volunteer."

Her presence at the Division’s meetings has become a source of motivation, building a sense of friendship and purpose among her fellow volunteers, including Harriet Waymark, who is also a volunteer at St John and is a role model to Josephine. “One friend that inspired me was Harriet Waymark. She's also attending Monash Uni with me and progressed really fast in her role at St John, and she was one of my inspirations through the process, to complete my training and keep going because I just saw what a fun time she was having and the contribution she made."

Beyond her invaluable contributions to St John, Josephine's selfless spirit extends far into the community. From her volunteering experience at organisations such as Christmas on the Streets and Teddy Bear Hospital to leading initiatives as a third year Biomed Representative, Wellbeing Committee Officer for Mannix College, and Creative Live Arts Committee Monash Student Association, she has left a mark on many lives, showcasing the transformative power of service. 

Josephine's journey serves as a demonstration of the profound impact of volunteerism, going above boundaries of culture, language, and background. Her dedication and compassionate heart are the essence of National Volunteer Week, reminding us that regardless of our circumstances, we possess the power to make a difference. To all our volunteers, Josephine has a message: “To our youth members, first responders, first aiders and everyone across the scope, stick with it. I've seen some people in St John who have been there for 40 years, 50 years and it's such a massive achievement."

For those who are still considering doing volunteer work, Josephine advises “So in any way of shape or form that you want to volunteer, St John really sums it up in a beautiful way. From all the volunteering roles I have done in the past and I will continue to do, I think St John has been one of the most prominent ones because it's so rewarding in so many different aspects."

As she continues her pursuit of knowledge in the halls of the university to become a doctor one day, Josephine stands as hope and inspiration, illuminating the path towards a brighter, more compassionate future for us all.